A common garden plant and one parent of the grandiflora hybrids.
Perennial, deciduous plants growing from corms up to 3 cm wide.
Erect, sword-like leaves up to 1.2 cm long and 2 cm wide form a basal fan.
Inflorescence stems are up to 1.5 m high.
The bracts under the flowers are a red-brown to green.
Scarlet or orange flowers have large areas of yellow on the base of the lower 3 tepals.
There may be greenish or brownish lines on the yellow area.
The upper tepals may have brownish lines or tiny yellow spots.
The upper tepal forms a hood over the stamens.